"Constant finger pricks" to test blood for glucose levels is an annoying but essential fact of a diabetic's life, said Antonio Regalado at Technology Review. But a University of Chicago team says it has developed a potentially groundbreaking solution, turning gene-edited skin into "its own blood-sugar sensor." The team modified skin cells from a mouse using the gene-editing technique CRISPR, adding an E. coli gene that forms a protein that sticks to sugar molecules, plus DNA that produces fluorescent molecules.

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When the E. coli protein stuck to sugar and changed shape, it moved the fluorescent molecules closer or further apart, creating a signal the team could see with a microscope. Grafted back onto the animals, the skin sensor proved to be as accurate as a blood test and required no battery. The next step is to adapt the technique to work on humans.